Dr Nic Dickson
- Research Associate (General Practice & Primary Care)
- Research Associate (Sociology)
I am a social researcher, educator and artist who is interested in how visual methods can be used for knowledge-exchange with seldom heard communities.
I completed a PhD with the School of Education at the University of Glasgow in 2023. My background is in social research, health and the arts. I have an M.Sc. in Marketing from the University of Strathclyde and an M.Phil. in Medical Education from the Queen’s University of Belfast. Before returning to academia to undertake a part time PhD in 2016, I worked as a social researcher in the private and public sector. For over 15 years, I developed my understanding and approach to conducting qualitative research with 'hard to reach' groups.
I’m interested in creating accessible and interactive approaches to teaching, research and data dissemination. As an Early Career Researcher, I would like to develop stronger interactions with colleagues across the University of Glasgow (and beyond) who are interested in the use of creative, arts-based research methods to engage marginalised groups. I am delighted to be involved in the University of Glasgow’s Laboratory for Civic Arts Research (LCAR) engagement training programme, which invites researchers from across the disciplines to develop arts tools and methodologies for civic engagement.
I am a visual note taker. I create live sketches at conferences and events. My drawings are digitised to create marketing and promotion materials for third sector charities. I hope to develop my skills to visually document information to communicate with stakeholders and audiences through non-textual content. I have a fledgling consultancy business which I plan to build in 2024, in order to produce creative content for academic and third sector audiences (www.visualinquiry.co.uk).
I work as a p/t Research Associate at the University of Glasgow. My primary role is with General Practice and Primary Care in the School of Health and Wellbeing. I am with the ‘People Insights’ team, working on a project called ‘SysteMatic’, where I design participatory, arts-based research approaches to explore the experiences of people who have multiple long-term health conditions (MLHCs) and live in the most deprived communities. I am leading the consultation with community groups, clinicians and practitioners. This pilot study is conducted in conjunction with the University of Liverpool, and the findings will help inform the creation of AI and shape digital technologies to better assist all individuals affected by MLHCs.
In addition, I am a p/t Research Associate in the School of Social & Political Sciences within the College of Social Sciences, on a project which explores South Asian women’s conceptualisations of domestic abuse and justice, the help-seeking pathways available to them, and the barriers to justice faced in Scotland. It involves the use of creative, Participatory Action Research (PAR) approaches to gain access and capture the experiences of this marginalised population. A report for the Scottish Government has been produced: ‘Diversifying justice: revealing domestic abuse realities and viable help-seeking pathways for South Asian women’ (Mirza, Bradley and Dickson, April 2023) and the team are now developing the findings from this work to become a public information comic, using some of the imagery I created in response to the focus group and in-depth interviews.
I am interested in theoretical frameworks which utilise critically reflexive, creative, feminist research methodologies. In my doctoral research, I considered the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse and adult learners, artists and research participants. I reflected on my role as an educator and artist, and developed arts-based methods to engage the adult learners in my study. I have published an article from this work (Dickson, 2021), co-authored a special edition on ‘adult education, the arts and creativity’ (Dickson & Clover, 2021), and published a chapter in an e-book (Dickson, 2000). I am currently writing a chapter based on my PhD findings for a ‘New International Handbook of Teaching and Research on Adult Learning and Education’ (to be published 2024). Through my work at Adult Education conferences, I have a growing international profile as a feminist adult educator and arts-based researcher, with ongoing collaborations with academics from the UK, Europe and Canada.
Community-based adult education
2021 - Current: Artist-Researcher and Facilitator, SAY Women and Village Storytelling Centre
I work as an artist-researcher and adult educator at SAY Women, a charity which supports women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse and homelessness (www.say-women.co.uk ). I have delivered the sessions independently (in 2021 and 2023) and in conjunction with the Village Storytelling Centre (www.villagestorytelling.org.uk) (in 2021, 2022 and 2023). I will be joining SAY and the Village Storytelling centre again in 2024 from August – October.
I delivered five guest lectures during my PhD at the University of Glasgow, to undergraduate and masters students. My focus was on the use of innovative research methodologies and the ethical and practical considerations when working with so-called ‘vulnerable adults’. I presented at the following:
- February 2023: ‘Community Development Responses to Exclusion and Marginalisation’
- March 2022: ‘Reframing Language, Literature and Literacies for the 21st Century’
- March 2020: ‘Contemporary Research Theory and Methods in Social and Pedagogical Contexts’
- October 2019: ‘PGT Qualitative Methods’
- November 2018: ‘Impact of Alcohol and Substance Use on Children and Families’
Graduate Teaching Assistant
At the University of Glasgow, I have worked as (GTA) on various master’s programmes in the Department of Education and assisted in the design, delivery, and marking process. These have included:
2020: ‘Contemporary Research Theory and Methods in Social and Pedagogical Contexts’
2019: ‘Impact of Alcohol and Substance Use on Children and Families’
2018: ‘Teaching Adults’ and the ‘International Masters in Adult Education for Social Change’
When at the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1998, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) with the Medical Education department. I delivered weekly tutorials and a guest lecture to undergraduate medical students on bio-psycho-social models of behaviour.